Skip to main content

249. A car, a bicycle and a dog

My Ford at the border between Scotland and England
My Ford in front of my derelict old house in my native village
  

Can you see it there parked "illegally"? not in June though

The year 2014 is a landmark in my very ordinary life. 

I had a car, a Ford Mondeo Ghia, running on diesel. I had driven it very happily to Germany, to Scotland and to various places in France. It had reached past 200 K km mileage and needed some fixing. I forgot what it was, nothing too bad, it could still pass the mandatory regular registration. My mechanic told me he would not do it. In any case I didn't have the money to have it done. So, I left it parked on the village square for a long time hoping to find the money and another mechanic for it. After a year I was asked to move it out as there was going to be a village fair on the square. Fair enough. Some friendly neighbor helped me start it and I drove it 5 km away to the other village where I have my garden and a barn. My idea was to store it inside the barn pending better days when I would get it fixed. I judged that the engine, if not the rusty body, could still be useful for something. However, as I couldn't open the barn door on my own, I left the car at my usual place on a small square in front of my garden.

Meanwhile I got news that my cousin living in a town some 20 km away was ill and feeling awful and depressed. I decided to go and visit him. It was in June, the sun rises early then and so did I. Leaving on my bicycle at 7 am I arrived at 9 and spent the day with my cousin. In June again the sun sets quite late. At 7 pm I set off to cycle back home... This is where it gets interesting. There was a long hill to get out of town with a lot of traffic at that time of day. And so, to avoid having to push my bike up the hill with traffic passing me by at full speed, I decided to take a short cut I knew. Wrong decision.

In a quiet suburb of cottages and leafy gardens there was a dog. The cottage was freshly built and the front garden had no fence, just a long hedge and a shaky wire for a gate. I may have been silly to talk to the dog that was barking at me from afar in a nasty way. I guess I should have ignored him. Maybe not. I don't know. The thing is that when passed that property and quite at the edge of it, on flat ground, pedaling full speed, I suddenly saw the head of what looked like a wolf and felt his teeth dig into my left leg just above the ankle. In such cases, survival instinct takes over. It happened very fast but I lived it in slow motion. 1) I screamed at the top of my voice  2) I kicked the head of the animal with my foot 3) I kept pedaling fiercely. The dog bit me a second time in the fat of the calf at the back of my knee. I screamed a second time at the top of my voice and accelerated as much as I could in order to get out of that dog's home territory. It ended up with my cousin picking me up by the side of the road and taking me to the hospital in Chateauroux where we arrived past 8 pm where I was fixed and looked after nicely.


During this time, a less friendly neighbor had reported to the local rural police that my car was parked illegally. A young police woman had it towed out to the pound yard there and then without warning. Back home injured and feeling rotten I got a visit from the friendly "mayor" of the village saying he had bad news... Of course the nasty neighbor had done it again! She's famous for it in the village for doing tricks like this. He also blamed the constable who should have let him know of the "illegal" parking before taking action, as the said little parking area is communal and I was known to park there regularly. I never saw my Ford Mondeo again (sniff) as I was unable to go about claiming it. Too bad. I was left with a sore leg, unable to use my bicycle and too broke to buy another car.  End of that story! 
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

250. MY ESSAY IN ETHNOLOGY

When I say that I studied social ethnology, most people don't know what I'm talking about. So to illustrate what a post-graduate student did at the University of Michigan in this science within the department of Anthropology, here is the copy of my essay written in November 1980 for my professor of course 501 of that year.

 The title is THE POWER GAME AT THE MICRO-LEVEL OF TALE SOCIETY.

The study was based on ethnographic data published by Meyer Fortes who was an ethnologist in the 1940s in Ghana. The exercise was to use his data from his observation in the field to analyse what it meant in terms of "power game". It was to show us that a good ethnographer's job consisted of taking down every detail of his observations, even if it did not make sense to him at the time. The ethnologist can then trust the ethnographer's findings in order to analyse them and make sense with them. The ethnographer and the ethnologist are most of the time the one and same person. …

237. Wisdom

A whole year now since I posted anything on this blog!




I am currently reading The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence in an attempt to view the background of the current hatred between East and West following the attacks on Paris lately. I borrowed the French version of the book written by Lawrence at the end of the First World War. It may sound odd but I am indeed finding the roots of the problem there.

In any case I greatly enjoy reading this French translation by Eric Chedaille, éditions Phébus 2009. It is fluid and elegant. I am sure that Lawrence would have liked it too!  The English original edition for the translation was as follows:

T. E. Lawrence. 
Seven Pillars of Wisdom The complete 1922 "Oxford" text First published for general circulation by J. and N. Wilson Fordingbridge, Hampshire, 2004 Project-managed by Book Production Consultants PLC, Cambridge

I find Lawrence full of philosophy and humor.  It also brings me back to my own time in the Middle East when I was 19 …